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People Who cover up Violence and Abuse against Women and Girls in PNG should also be jailed : O'Neill

Violence against women and girls is a massive problem that crosses cultural and national boundaries, that is not limited to one age group, to the illiterate or educated, or to rich or poor people, and is devastating for lives right around the country.

The Leader of the People’s National Congress, Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG, MP, said Leaders must work much harder to bring about real protections and reforms to stop violence against women and girls, and to lock up the men who use violence as well as the people who help them cover up their crimes.

“Our mothers, daughters and sisters, and all girls and women in our communities, need new approaches to better ensure their protection,” Mr. O’Neill said.

“First, this means the Police Commissioner re-focusing his attention away from COVID-19, that is a healthcare issue, and get back to core law and order issues. In particular, police need to be stepping up action against males who use violence against women and girls.”

Mr. O’Neill said the Government, through the Department for Community Development and Religion already has an approved National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender- Based Violence.

“This strategy was approved by NEC, with many of the current NEC Members being a part of that Cabinet, so there should be nothing to prevent the government from resuming activities under this strategy.”

Peter O’Neill said that at a governance level, the country needs stronger laws so that violent abusers are put away for good, as well as laws that mean people who help violent men to cover up their crimes are also charged and jailed.

“One thing common to almost all abusers is that they do not commit their crimes alone.

“Too often an abuser is protected by his own family and friends, who either turn a blind eye, or help to cover up the abuse.

“This is never acceptable, and I want to see men and women who knowingly help an abuser to also be charged and jailed.

“In my view, the friends and family of the man who has been charged with the torture and murder of Jenelyn Kennedy, who stood by and did nothing while she was being abused, should also be charged.

“There are people who were willing contributors to the crimes that took place against this young lady, and they are as low as the animal who killed her.

“Are police going to charge the men that dropped her body to the hospital with being a party to wilful murder, and an accessory after the fact?

“While aiding and abetting a crime is an offence under existing laws, we need laws that are clear and specific so we can jail people who help abusers.

“Of course we know that these are very complicated situations, and there is so much fear involved, with abused women and their loved ones often scared to act for fear of making the situation worse.

“This means we have to be careful with these legislative reforms, but it is important that we keep adapting laws so we can put an end to violence against women and girls and better protect our most vulnerable.

“Ultimately, as Leaders, we have to take every opportunity to rally more people behind efforts to protect women and girls so they can live their lives free from violence.”

“This includes continuing to educate the men and boys in our communities to know that violence against women and girls is never acceptable.”

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